Been one of those weeks! A lot of grit and grind type stuff. I hope everyone has had a productive, safe and blessed week. In light of all of the tragic events that've been happening, I hope to bring forth some positive vibes with this post. I've been praying for the families of my lost brothers in this madness, and for all of the families of the Dallas officers who were killed as a result of the shootings. I have a lot to say about everything that's been happening but in order to stay on track with this post, I will continue on with what I had planned to speak on.
Nonetheless -- I said a little while ago that I've been wanting to make a post about my travels so I've been thinking about how I was going to present this blog but then I again remembered -- blogs are supposed to be freeform thinking right!? So here it goes; my out of town endeavors.
There is so much to see and learn from literally everywhere. Different areas contain different people and different cultures -- different lifestyles, different ways of doing things, etc. All of it is good to take in, what you want to apply your own life is a personal decision. You simply cannot equal any tangible good, such as money, to an experience whatsoever.
Growing up, I never really went anywhere. Until this year, I had just been to the normal well-known getaway places in the US, ya know -- Florida twice maybe, New York once. Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, I'd been to the surrounding states -- Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, etc., but I still never really "went anywhere”. A lot of those trips were "routine" to go on because of family trips, and the other times I don’t recall because I was too young. I have family that lives here in North Carolina so those frequent trips were a given, and my brother went to St. Francis University in Loretto, PA, so that just about covers every reason I had to take a trip to Pennsylvania. The bottom line here is I never really wanted to go anywhere, and I'm not sure why.
What I do know is that I've always been a creature of habit. I still am to this day, as it helps direct my life, but I’m trying to be more a lot more flexible with new things. It is very easy to get comfortable in a constant, steady routine but new encounters can pan out to be life changing for the better. I had a tragic happening occur to my family in early January and it indirectly changed my whole wave of thinking. Though I’m not exactly sure how it lead to my change of thinking honestly, it surely did.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
In January, one morning I woke up and decided I was going to go to Los Angeles for 2 weeks. I needed to get away for various reasons. I'd always said I wanted to see LA, but I'd never been any further West than Minnesota (don't ask why I've been to Minnesota). Being a photographer and videographer, I've been aware of the mecca that LA is in the media field and I wanted to experience it for myself. So, I just went. I had money saved up from late 2015 projects and I just decided to go. This trip changed my life for sure. Even the process of checking in my bags at the airport, to the layovers, and all was so invigorating. It made me feel like I was doing something right. When I got to LA, I went wild with inspiration and fascination. I was shooting everything and I after week 1 I had taken over 2,000 photos. I went to a couple sit-in seminars on entrepreneurship. I handed out at least 150 business cards. I should be a spokesperson for Uber and Lyft the way I navigated around the city. I even found a way to get down to Laguna Beach, which is not exactly a short trip, especially without a car and considering Southern California traffic. I got to see the Hollywood Hills, Santa Monica, LACMA and much much more. I also had the help of a friend, who gave me a lot of helpful information too. I've uploaded some photos from my trip below and even linked a short video I made of my time there.
I even managed to book a couple of shoots out there to make a little money. I met a couple of insanely good directors, and I even got to see the workflow of a project in progress. One of my goals with my business is to travel more for work and this helped me see why I want to do that. There’s a lot to see in this world and I want to see as much of it as possible. Los Angeles has definitely not seen the last of me.
In mid-June (about 3 weeks ago now) I went to Miami, Florida. Miami is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The way they take care of their beach areas is phenomenal and the skyline is gorgeous from all of the many angles you can view it -- everything is lovely (besides the weather being blazing hot). I met amazing people and enjoyed shooting the many different spots. I also had recently bought a DJI Phantom, so I brought that along to fly with me everywhere. Oddly enough -- one morning around sunrise when I was flying it around South Beach, I came across an older guy who was out there for the very same reason. He is a Miami native, who makes a living from flying drones all over the world for television stations. I probably sat on the South Beach Pier with him for a good 3 hours just picking his brain on everything from flying, to filming, to the Miami market. That lengthy conversation alone made that whole trip worth it instantly.
Going to Miami, I had a lot of lessons learned from my trip to LA. For one – not to even think about not getting a rental car. It's such a necessity and I honestly still don’t know how I maneuvered around all of Los Angeles without one. For my Miami trip I had 3 shoots pre-booked to make a good deal of the money back that I was spending on the trip overall, so I definitely wanted to make sure I had a reliable ride to get places. I also used Airbnb to find a nice condo off of the Miami Marina that was a very reasonable price. This was my first time using Airbnb, but after my experience I highly recommend that people utilize that service when traveling for fun. I know I will continue to do so for future leisure trips.
I knew that my schedule only permitted 4 days in Miami, so I was going to go where I wanted, fly where I wanted, shoot what I wanted and meet who I wanted. Needless to say, I did all of those things and more. I was able to get some amazing aerial shots and footage and I plan on selling some of my work to Miami-based production agencies. Uploaded below are some of my favorite photos from Miami, and also my aerial video that I put together from my time there. I've primitively looked in to relocating my life and my business down there, but we'll see. I'm a strong believer in following your heart and gut, and I have strong belief that the market down there is something I need to look deeper into.
My message to anyone reading this is to TRAVEL. GO. I promise you will not regret it. If you've already been traveling, then I'm mad at you for not getting me up to speed years ago.
My goal is to take a trip somewhere every 4-5 months or so, especially while I'm in this creative space that I'm in now -- whether it is to a far area or not. Since the new year basically, I've had a newfound aspiration to see as much of the World as possible. I can promise that I'm going to go to many places and have my camera with me the whole time.
I have a trip to Dallas, Texas, in September for a multi-day video job as a member of DWPPC and I'm looking forward to that as well. With both of these trips that I’ve made already this year, I’ve been able to meet up with photographers and directors to pick their mind on just about everything. What I've noticed is that every single photographer and videographer carries a different prospective on the work, and on business. Again, I know that what I apply to my personal life is my own decision but it is for sure a great thing to be quick to listen.
From a general standpoint, I’m glad that I now see the importance of traveling. Even if not for a distinct “purpose”, seeing different areas opens the mind up to new opportunities, new people and cultures, and new sights. Don't be afraid to be a tourist. Please be aware that we are in a day and age that you can do whatever you set your mind to. It can be done, you just have to be committed to doing it. There are so many people in this world that make a living from having "unconventional" careers. If you have a craft that you feel that you're good at, I highly encourage you to exploit and explore that. You never know what, or who, you will come across that will change your life -- potentially for forever. If you never get out of your comfort zone, you won't see those things or meet those people and I'm glad I experienced this for myself. You know, what makes me mad is that I haven't even been out of the US yet! That won't be true for long however. I’m excited to see what's in store.
Be blessed. Be safe. Thank you for reading once again.